Editor’s letter: I’m daring to dream again

Something strange, wonderful and, if I’m honest, almost scary has been happening to me in the past couple of weeks. I’ve started allowing myself to look forward to things I have banned myself from thinking about for months and months and months. It has been almost a full year since I even contemplated getting a manicure. I have what I call ‘mum nails’ – stumpy, split and flaking from cleaning, washing dishes and dogs, and all that obsessive handwashing and sanitising. But this week I am starting to imagine striding confidently out of a nail salon with groomed, glossy digits – as if I’m one of those glamorous ladies I’ve heard about who work on women’s magazines.

This then made me think about massages. Oh, the decadence! Whether it’s a beauty therapist or the girl who washes my hair at the salon, when I imagine that first moment of chaste but nonetheless pleasurable contact with another human, I feel a bit emotional. I’m worried I might cry when I’m asked if I’d like some conditioner and a scalp massage. I’m starting to let myself think about outfits. Soon there’ll be a good few months where I will never knowingly be seen without a sequin. For a very long time now, I have not allowed my brain to contemplate pub gardens, let alone the joyful Sunday afternoon hours wasted putting the world to rights over pink wine and endless rounds of salted chips. I haven’t even let myself, until recently, think of seeing or – gasp! – hugging my friends. And what about spontaneity?! Remember deciding at 6.25pm that meeting a mate for a cheeky drink, bite and a gossip at 6.35pm was a possibility?

These thoughts have started seeping back into my head and my heart and, for the first time in a long time, I’m not shooing them out again. It might be because the big elephant in the room is that I still really don’t know when I will get to see my family in Australia. It’s not looking likely for this year. So I hope I’m excused for concentrating – to the point of breaking into a sweat – on the little pleasures that should be coming our way again soon. They can have a huge impact on our happiness. Or maybe it’s simply the time of year. Today is the first day of spring: our most powerful, primal symbol of renewal, rebirth. Last year it was the beginning of all the shutting down, isolation and pain. We hadn’t yet endured this prolonged phase of physical distance, of keeping stoic and carrying on. We didn’t understand this damn virus as much as we do now. We didn’t have the vaccine.

I’m allowing myself to think that this year, the start of spring represents quite the opposite. Let’s hope that when you’re reading this, the weather is sunny and springy and a good match for the song in my heart! But even if it’s not, as ever we have pulled out all the stops to bring you joy in a magazine. From cheerful fashion to gorgeous food that will have everyone running to your table (and soon they’ll be allowed), not to mention reads to keep you entertained and inspired. In particular in this issue I’m thinking about the incredible stories of the Windmill Girls. We only ever need look at history to know that this too shall pass. Spring – and better times – are here.

Editor’s picks

A few things I’m coveting this week

lobster shoesAllergies prevent me from eating lobster, but not wearing it. Shoes, £139, kurtgeiger.com

yellow handbagA gorgeous colour in a perfect sling-over-your-shoulder shape. Bag, £69, charleskeith.com

sequin topI am really not kidding about sequins. Top, £12.99, hm.com